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Classic Kitchen Design Trends

A Closer Look at Flooring in Home Remodeling Projects

Flooring is sometimes an afterthought when you’re thinking about a home remodeling project. Space, fixtures, function and colors are usually the first things most homeowners want to change right off the bat, but floors play a prominent part in the look and feel of your home.

Hardwood Floors
Many of the homes in Northern Virginia were built with hardwood floors. Some of them are in wonderful shape and can be refinished as part of your home remodeling project. If they no longer fit your footprint, they can be repurposed if they are still in good condition. Hardwood floors are a strong and suitable option for nearly any room in the house. From wide planks to thin strips, they add sophistication and beauty to bedrooms, hallways, staircases, hobby spaces, and living and dining rooms. For new hardwood flooring, look for modern choices in very hard varieties like mahogany, cypress and teak. Oak, maple and ash are also durable and popular. Engineered wood floors are layered wood, rather than solid planks, but still wood nonetheless. Hardwood flooring is easy to clean, but can pick up divots and scratches under high traffic and vigorous activities. Hardwood flooring is available in a wide range of colors and coordinates well with almost any room decor.

Natural Stone
Natural stone surfaces are popular choices in Northern Virginia kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovations and home additions. They are featured not only in flooring, but for countertops, vanities and other purposes. Natural stone floors are durable and easy to maintain when they are sealed. The distinctive tones and patterns in travertine, granite, slate, marble and quartz add color and depth to any room. Natural stone flooring is especially fitting in the kitchen, hallways and bathrooms. If you’re looking for a sturdy flooring material for your outdoor spaces, sealed natural stone is a great place to start.

Carpeting
While soft and warm on the feet and comfortable to sit on, fewer homeowners are using wall-to-wall carpeting in home remodeling projects. It is hard to clean, tough on those with allergies and provides unique challenges for people with pets and small children. Area rugs are a popular choice for purpose-specific rooms and provide extra protection for floors in high traffic areas, especially entrances and playrooms.

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
If you’re looking for a splash of color and distinctively sophisticated patterns, the answer may lie in ceramic tile or its subset of porcelain. While durability isn’t their strong-suit for high traffic areas, porcelain is the stronger of the two and works well in the bathroom, or hallway. Save ceramics for lightly traveled areas. They are both well-suited to mosaics and patterned designs, and are a popular choice in Northern Virginia bathroom remodeling projects.

If you’re interested in seeing what different flooring choices would look like in your home, visit our Foster Remodeling Solutions Design & Selection Center in Lorton. One of our professional designers can walk you through the process with our Design CAD drawings and help you choose flooring options that are suitable in looks, quality, durability and maintenance for your Northern Virginia residential remodeling project.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

Making Your Home Accessible to Aging In Place

The oldest of the Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) reached the age of 65 last year in 2011 and by 2030 the number of Americans over the age of 65 will soar to 72.1 million, 1 out of every 5 Americans!  Given those numbers there is no question why we get so many calls here at Foster Remodeling on how to remodel an existing home to make it more comfortable and accessible for the homeowners as they age.  In fact, according to a recent AARP survey, 73% of respondents strongly agreed with the statement “What I’d really like to do is stay in my current residence for as long as possible”.  Most homes, especially in Northern Virginia, weren’t designed with long-term accessibility in mind, but there are several projects that can make you and your family more at ease with you staying in your home as long as possible.

Kitchens are great way to update a home’s accessibility and a valuable remodel that many can enjoy over the years.  In the same AARP study, 75% of Boomers didn’t feel their current kitchen layout met their living needs; there are a few ways to update your kitchen.  For this generation transitioning from a 42” bar height table or overhang to a 28” or 30” height is more accessible should one need a walker or wheel chair in the future.  Also, because kitchen space is frequently used by Boomers and other generations alike a standard-height table or island for social gathering is ideal.  Creating wider walkways or paths throughout the kitchen and adjacent rooms provides easier mobility.  Storage options should be easily reachable and/or pull out, older cabinets without rollouts or few drawers can be taxing for those with back problems.  Keep hardware in mind as well, for those suffering from arthritis or hand-mobility/gripping issues small knobs can be difficult, but larger pulls can be much easier to manipulate.

Another room where updates should be provided is the bathroom.  Maneuverability should be a priority in a bathroom, providing a 60” turnaround (minimum size needed for a wheel-chair to turn) if the space allows or an acceptable T-turn space should be planned for.  Creating a shower with zero-threshold allows for easy entry and exit into and out of the shower space with no tripping hazards.  If a bathtub is a requirement, grab bars with adequate bracing behind them should be installed to ease entry and exit.  Benches are also a high-demand item which can be built-in or installed as a fold-down to accommodate those who have problems standing.  When thinking about faucets and shower valves, lever handles are much easier to manipulate and installing a separate handheld shower provides ease of use.  Toilets have come a long way, and many companies have “comfort height” or ADA approved height versions which typically have a seat height of 17”-19” above the floor, a much easier location to lower to and rise from.  Keep in mind that many of these features can be integrated into the overall design so it needn’t feel institutional or hospital-like.  Many of our clients are surprised at how gorgeous their “universally designed” bathrooms are when the project is complete.

There are several small areas around the house that one should also think about when remodeling.  With flooring, low or zero-thresholds between surfaces is important because of tripping hazards.  Typically we recommended hardwood, laminate or tile flooring since it is a smooth surface that is easy to get around on and dust is less likely to collect on hard surfaces compared to carpeting for those with respiratory problems to consider.  If you really feel more comfortable with carpet, consider a low pile height.  Hardware on doors should be levers, as knobs again, can be difficult to manipulate.  At the entry point of the home, creating a clear accessible path to a no step covered door is ideal, also providing a 36” wide opening of the door to accommodate walkers or a wheelchair.  If possible, we’ve had many clients relocate their master bedroom to the first floor or add an addition to accommodate a first floor master suite for themselves or aging parents.

As many of our clients or their parent’s age, we know what your concerns are and can help you plan for them.  In a Genworth 2010 study of Cost of Care, they found the average cost of a 1 bedroom single occupancy assisted living facility was $38,220, multiply that by 5, 10, 15 years and you are looking at a large investment.  For many families whether they are keeping parents in their own house or joining them into their own homes, we can guide you to make smart choices to keep you or your family as independent as long as possible.  We know how important your home is to you, so whether you or a loved one is looking to remodel or update to accommodate your lifestyle give us a call.